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Marcos Declares Emergency, Pledges to 'Wipe Out' Rebels : Cites Panic, Takes Over Radio and TV

February 24, 1986|MARK FINEMAN and NICK B. WILLIAMS Jr. | Times Staff Writers

MANILA — President Ferdinand E. Marcos decreed a state of emergency in the Philippines today in response to false broadcasts by church-controlled Radio Veritas that his government had been overthrown, that he had fled the country and that a new revolutionary government had been installed.

Using powers he assumed under the decree, Marcos declared, "All police and military are now on notice that we are in a state of emergency, and the government has given notice to all radio and television stations that they are now controlled by the government." He added that the "emergency situation is part of the constitution of every government" and said the declaration was needed because "radio stations are causing panic in the country."

In an earlier address to the nation by television, Marcos pledged to "wipe out" a rebellion against him led by two of his key aides.

Army Base Reoccupied

Six hours after that earlier address, a column of marines loyal to Marcos used tear gas and truncheons to clear civilian demonstrators away from their path and at dawn today reoccupied an army base seized Saturday by the two aides in their uprising.

The base, Camp Aguinaldo, which contains the Philippine Defense Ministry, was abandoned by the rebels Sunday so they could concentrate their forces at adjacent Camp Crame, which they consider easier to defend.

Marcos was obviously furious when he went on television with his pledge to destroy the rebel leaders in Camp Crame.

Jabbing fingers into the air and slamming his fist on the desk, Marcos charged in a midnight Sunday address to the nation that former Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile and Lt. Gen. Fidel V. Ramos, deputy chief of staff of the armed forces, are part of "a new power group trying to seize power" from both him and the nation's political opposition.

'Let the Blood Flow'

He accused them of sedition, open rebellion and conspiring to overthrow his government and said he will "let the blood flow" if the two rebel leaders continue to demand his resignation as their only condition of surrender.

Vowing never to resign, Marcos declared, "I have all the power in my hands to put an end to this rebellion when we decide enough is enough."

The marines in battle gear who reoccupied Camp Aguinaldo dispersed hundreds of people demonstrating there in support of Enrile and Ramos in Camp Crame, which is located just across a wide street from Camp Aguinaldo.

Witnesses said some students tried to link arms to stop or block the marines, and radio reports from the scene said many people fell as they tried to escape the troops.

But there were no immediate reports of anyone being seriously hurt, and there were no clashes between loyalist and rebel military forces during the reoccupation of the camp.

In another development this morning, Gregorio Cendena, Marcos' information minister, moved to end a flurry of confusion in this capital caused by a report broadcast by the Roman Catholic Church-operated Radio Veritas that Marcos and his family had fled the country.

"There is absolutely no truth to the Radio Veritas report," Cendena said, and the government television channel soon afterward broadcast a live scene from Malacanang Palace, the president's home, showing Marcos and members of his family.

Marcos' midnight television address marked a radical departure from his earlier pledge to use all peaceful means to solve the crisis in his 200,000-man military.

The speech was made several hours after thousands of middle-class civilian demonstrators armed only with banners and flowers had turned aside a move made by Marcos forces on Sunday to take back Camp Aguinaldo.

The demonstrators, most of them supporters of opposition presidential candidate Corazon Aquino, stopped the loyalist troops by refusing to move from the path of the armored force, which did not use tear gas or make any other forceful effort to break through the human barrier.

Inside Camp Crame on Sunday, Ramos told reporters that his band of rebels, although heavily armed, is "a mismatch" for Marcos' tanks and artillery. But he quickly added: "There is a more powerful weapon system at our disposal--people power. And people power is sufficient to support the New Armed Forces of the Philippines."

Public Relations Effort

At the same time, Ramos launched a public relations campaign of his own. In a series of Sunday meetings at Camp Crame, Ramos declared to Aquino's aides and to other opposition leaders that he and Enrile have the support of the majority of the military.

The rebel leaders also reiterated their determination not to surrender until Marcos resigns. They accuse him of gaining reelection illegally, through fraud and intimidation of voters, in the Feb. 7 balloting.

Top aides to Aquino, who is leading a nationwide protest movement against Marcos in an effort to force his resignation, said they fully support the mutiny.

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